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maternity checklist
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Maternity checklist

Maternity checklist

This checklist sets out the main issues to be considered when an employee is pregnant. You can give enhanced contractual maternity leave and pay if you wish, for example, you may be willing to pay more than statutory maternity pay (SMP) during maternity leave. Note too that eligible parents may now choose to curtail their entitlement to maternity leave and pay and convert the balance into shared parental leave/pay. 


Antenatal care

Pregnant employees have the right to take paid leave to attend antenatal care.  Note that fathers-to-be (and partners of pregnant women) are also legally entitled to take unpaid time off work to attend up to two antenatal appointments.


Maternity leave and pay entitlement

Maternity leave consists of ordinary maternity leave and additional maternity leave. Pregnant employees are entitled to 26 weeks’ ordinary maternity leave and 26 weeks’ additional maternity leave. Additional maternity leave starts immediately after the end of ordinary maternity leave.

Employees can choose when they want their maternity leave to start subject to two restrictions:

  • maternity leave can only be taken from the eleventh week before the week the baby is due (unless the baby is born prematurely, in which case maternity leave will begin on the day after the date of childbirth)
  • if the employee is absent from work wholly or partly because of a pregnancy-related condition at any time from beginning of the fourth week before the week the baby is due, the start of her maternity leave will be triggered automatically.

Even if an employee says she doesn’t want to take any maternity leave, you must not allow her to work during the compulsory maternity leave period, which is two weeks from the day of childbirth (four weeks for factory workers).

To be eligible for SMP, the employee must earn at least NI contributions lower earnings limit for eight weeks up to and including the 15th week before the week the baby is due.



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